I’ve been meaning to get to TJ’s for a long time (nearest one is 90 minutes, each direction, so logically, I normally WAIT til I’m in that area for other things) and decided that I’d do an uncharacteristic run to town on the weekend.
Since I knew that I’d be doing a minimum, which is odd again, I put Bobby’s Gentle Leader (he pulls when excited; on the ranch he’s grand but who wouldn’t be?) on, took off the shocking collar that keeps him within our road’s open gates and grabbed some poo bags.
We stopped twice on the way for him to piddle and sniff because he’s not used to longer rides unless it’s deeper into the Ozarks. This is GOING TO TOWN which I think he only did with me ONCE in his four years! This is because it’s hard to socialise us when we’re in the middle of nowhere. Opportunities aren’t there. I do take him out and about but usually very early or when places are closed, so he can get used to the idea of bazillions of people and animal smells without the FREAKOUT of actual people or animals there.
Also, he has tried to kill every dog brought to the ranch, so I’m pretty much AFRAID of him attacking dogs outside BUT I’m aware that it could be territorial. We’ve had scores of dogs, never rescues, who never behaved like this. We’ve had a couple of bruisers but they’d beat a dog down and be done. Bobby keeps going.
He’s NOT this way with people. With people, he’ll knock you over, rubbing against you and lick you to death. He’s very strong. It’s an issue. I can keep him off people on the ranch but once amongst Flatlanders, he is in hyper-love-me-mode and it’s only through the Gentle Leader that I can sort of control him. Again, this is my fault because I frigging WORK all the time and we live in the middle of nowhere. This is normally not a problem, he’s very happy having acres of ponds, creeks and land and nobody telling him what to do. He’s a pre-Annie Sullivan Helen Keller away from home, though.
So! There’s that.
We got to Des Peres and took him for a nice long walk about the complex, much sniffing and a little piddling (he’d gone twice, recall) til he was bored. Yup. BORED. I went to toss him back in the sportwagon and that’s when he took a dump. Grabbed it up, tossed him in the car and threw away the poo before heading into buy stuff.
In this plaza is a gourmet dog bakery called Treats Unleashed. I’ve seen in a lot of times and never went in. I stashed the stuff in the car and took Bobby over for a look-see.
He has never entered a shop before!
I made sure it was empty and went in. What a CUTE shop! They have toys and tiny collars (not for hounds or the Bobby) and obviously…freshly baked doggie treats (decorated!) and then bones and cartilage and hooves and well, all those things —
Get this: in bins on the FLOOR! The table is low so BobbyDogReed could even see the stuff, let alone smell it.
He went in and was doing his nervous laugh/pant for about 2 seconds–til he saw the stuff. It was SO cute. He looked at me a second to say, ‘IT’S A DOOOOOOOOOG SHOP!’
And immediately went to sniffing all the goods and checking everything out. He got a little too interesting in a couple of things but an ‘Mm’ from Sissy was all that took to keep him from mouthing them. Then, a nice lady came out. To protect her anonymity, her name starts with an A and she wears specs, just in case anybody gets a chance to visit it.
I told her this was his first shopping experience ANYWHERE, he’s a ranch dog and sooo not socialised. She was wonderful with him. Cuddles galore, he flopped on his back and let her rub his belly. She was just perfect with him. Of course, I guess working in a dog treat shop probably has given her lots of experience but she was better than the vets!
She gave him three gourmet (free!) snacks and he was in love. Of course, he loved her anyway but this definitely made this is FAVOURITE SHOP EVER.
We were there a long time, which I loved, so that he could acclimate a bit to being in a shop. She said many times he was well-behaved and he is a bit — not like a really well-behaved dog but for a hillbilly dog, yes, he is!
She even gave him some water (I asked just for a cup of water to put in his bowl–they have a working kitchen within sight) in the shop. He thought that was super.
People started coming in and to my delight, with NO dogs. WHEW!
About 4 of them wanted to pet him and they saw he needs work. It’s not that he’ll settle down, either. With new people he’ll be this way for DAYS, so don’t expect after greeting, he’ll get bored of you.
One fellow wanted to rough-house with him. ‘Erm, he’s stronger than you think.’
The guy rolls up his sleeve, showing me his Guns and says, ‘I’m a big man, he can’t do anything I can’t take.’
Tussle-tussle-tussle…Bobby racks him. Nice.
Playtime was over. Oops. Okay, Big Man! Ha! Sorry, really, but you know, you ramped him up.
This meant Bobby got to pick something out so we could EXIT. He shopped a minute and picked out a bone, which he carried 3/4 to the checkout but then got more interested in sniffing other wares.
That was so fun, we took a drive to the other side of that county and went to a major dog shop. I wouldn’t mind a replacement collar but by the time you find any his size, they’re all spiked. 😦 I mentioned in both shops and they were like, ‘If that isn’t his style, it’s a drag.’
His style? Okay, you just crossed over to crazy even by me but yeah.
Whilst there, I saw ‘his’ Gentle Leaders. Then I noticed it said: Moderate pulling.
Moderate? Well, show me the EXCESSIVE!
Bobby got a new harness! It’s one of those belly-chest models. I always thought those were good for not yanking on their necks BUT didn’t think they had the correction. This model does. It works way better than even the Gentle Leader (which is almost made of yarn, it’s so soft, maybe this other one works better because it’s HEAVY nylon but wide and comfortable). Bobby loves it and I’m not kidding. He’d wear the GL because he knew it meant we were going on a drive but he tried to get it off. This one, he doesn’t wiggle or scratch or rub or anything! All smiles from B means all smiles from Me!
We walked all over an office plaza and then went to Lion’s Choice, where he enjoyed a pile of roast beef.
HUGE day for Bobby!